As per clinical data provided by Delhi-based experts, there has been a considerable rise in the number of cases of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) amongst patients suffering from diabetes.
This highlights an urgent need to raise awareness about retina-related eye diseases.
There were over 72 million cases of diabetes in India in 2017. Given that diabetes is a major cause of blindness and one out of three people suffering from diabetes have some degree of DR, there is an urgent need to raise awareness about diabetic retinopathy – a major health concern for diabetics.
DR is the leading cause of vision loss among adults in the working age of 20- 65 years. This disease affects people during their productive years of life, impacting the quality of life of the patients and their families.
Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy & Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetes increases the risk of a range of eye diseases but the main cause of blindness associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR damages blood vessels inside the retina at the back of the eye.
Retina is that part of the eye where the final vision is formed, the way it is created on a film inside a camera. If the retina is damaged, the vision is automatically affected.
Diabetic Retinopathy leads to Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) which is the most common form of DR. It occurs when the damaged blood vessels swell and leak into the macula of the retina causing visibility problem in the normal vision.
-Need for Early Diagnosis
DME is a progressive retinal disease, which can be managed with effective treatment if the patient gets diagnosed in a timely manner.
According to Dr. Shashank Rai Gupta, Ophthalmologist & Eye Surgeon, Delhi Eye Care, “As the disease burden of diabetes and therefore Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is increasing, we need to adopt a robust approach to identify patients at an early stage. Loss of vision can be debilitating for patients who are still in their productive years and impact their quality of life at physical, mental and emotional levels.”
“Diabetes patients should stay extremely cautious of their eye health and get their vision checked at frequent intervals to rule out any eye diseases, especially those of the retina,” added Dr. Gupta.
It is imperative for diabetes patients to be alert and recognise the symptoms to avoid late detection of the disease.
Some of the common symptoms include:
• Distorted vision
• Blurred vision
• Colour sensitivity
• Dark spots in the centre vision
Anyone experiencing even one of these symptoms should immediately consult a retinologist – an expert eye doctor who specializes in retinal diseases.
There are various treatment options available in India which have shown significant results to slow or halt the progression of Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).
One of the most common and effective form of treatment is anti-VEGF therapy, which reduces the leakage from the blood vessels and also reduces the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye.
In some cases, patients require a combination of therapies to manage DME, as deemed suitable for their condition by the doctor.>